Friday, August 12, 2016

Outdoor Living at home

I kept putting off the annual photos of our backyard space this year as I had and have planned to make a new fantastic cushion for our wicker love seat. It didn't have one when we found it and we have had simple chair cushions just jammed together for a few years. Alas, I still haven't gotten around to it and I guess that's kind of the point of "it doesn't have to be perfect to work or be beautiful".

I am going to get to the new cushion it just might be october and the palm leaves won't make sense but it will be pretty and new for next year.

So for this year in the midst of our latest heat wave, our backyard outdoor living space,

the outdoor sitting, yapping, dining space. as a side note these byholma chairs from ikea are going on their sixth or seventh year out here and they are still fantastic. in case you were looking at them in the store and wondering.
the vintage can back there by the watering can holds all franklins toys when he isn't using them.

i change up the table items every year just a smidge so it seems different. this year i used old chicken feeders as succulent planters that don't require a lot of watering. i plopped some resin coral and regular sea shells amongst the lantern and called it done. the table runner is actually a floor runner we carried in the shop (i think there may be 1 left as of this writing) and i like that the weight is heavier than a normal table runner so it doesn't fly away.

the previously mentioned love seat. looks fine, still comfy but it would be great to just have a single long cushion that i can wash if necessary as franklin tends to make this couch his bed when we are out here late at night and he can't even get any use out of the ottoman with such short legs lol.

ah, frederick the wall fern. loving life in the humidity and growing like a weed. the whole shield along the moss has grown in the last month and a half.

i didn't put a lot of flowers again on our patio this year. dead heading is fine sometimes but thank goodness this year. with the watering and deadheading i may not have enjoyed them so much. the topiaries and maidenshair ferns are just growing like weeds and look lush.

so not the most glamorous photos as you see the back of everything and the edge or our burnt grass but it has taken 7 years to get blinds for our back patio off our to do list. we wandered down to lowes on the civic holiday and got these perfect roll down shades made in australia. they roll right up to the top with a hand crank (that i really enjoyed playing with the first few days going up and down like a little kid) and roll right down to shield us and company from the heavy heat and sun that hits this patio right at dinner time until about 9.

Well thanks for stopping by everyone,

Enjoy your weekend


Monday, August 8, 2016

A little artissimo furniture before and after

Happy Monday everyone,

Another before and after today but furniture style.

A lovely customer of mine is on a mission to one at a time fix and change all of the things that bother her about her living space. Not necessarily with new items as was the case with this table, but just slowly pick away and make the space hers. The plain simple finish of the coffee table was not making her happy and wasn't doing anything for her space. We decided on a lovely dark blue to mate with the red and blue persian rug that this table sits on top of normally.

I can't exactly get to my furniture photo wall in our garage on account of the rest of the furniture awaiting a makeover so Trevor helped me wander this table into our own living room to do a little photo shoot. Non stop lovely sun means this room is quite bright so the table looks a bit darker in the photos but trust me its a great blue.


after some heavy sanding on this factory shiny finish, i approached this table with #missmustardseedmilkpaint in #artissimo. It is still probably one of my favourite colours in her line. The richness of the blue is just perfect.

the table was finished with hemp oil (which will continue to dry and soak in over the next day or so i was excited to take the photo) and a dark wax combo with lots of on and off buffing/distressing.

Kind of loving the navy blue in our living room but since the blue really only surfaces for the summer season it would be a waste to paint a table for 3 months and then change it again.

Crazier things have happened

Have a great day everyone


Friday, August 5, 2016

Let's succulent

Oliver and Rust hosted a great workshop last night with a crew of ladies all set to learn and grown their own masterful creations of succulents in their home.

We don't have a huge space for workshops so we keep the numbers small but sometimes I think small is better because you are able to get some hands on help when it comes to learning and planting. It also gives more time for eating, drinking and socializing which can be fun.

The ladies learned how to start from scratch with a planter and also how to refresh a planter if just part of it has kicked the bucket as you can see Jill sharing below.

The ladies were welcomed to bring their own pot or purchase one in store to make their piece unique to them and below is all the transformations that were had.

It's so fun to see everyones unique personality with plants especially with the containers choices, toppers and what everyone leans towards with different plants.

Another learning success at Oliver and Rust.

Another workshop will be planned in the near future likely on how to create a glass forest terrarium.

Have a great day everyone and enjoy the Olympics tonight.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

some before and afters, pool side in Niagara on the Lake and a planter walk of shame

Good morning all.

A simple post of interesting tid bits today. First up my biggest sewing job to date is done. Finito! I am happy to say it turned out fabulous, but I may be more happy to say it is done as 1 person and 20 cushions seemed like a mountain a few weeks ago.
 One of my customers is a manager at the Pillar & Post inn in Niagara on the Lake and asked if I would be comfortable taking on this project. I am not exactly one to turn away from a challenge so with determination in hand and a couple of weeks I went about transforming the pool cushions from traditional floral to a more modern take of tropical vibes.  It was a lot of Gilmore Girls episodes watched in the creation of these cushions (my go to sewing background noise)

In a hotel that is so busy much of the time these cushions see a lot of use, and wear and tear so they were definitely due to be changed out and it meant I really wanted/needed to be on point with the perfection gnome that plagues me when creating things.

Here is a quick look at the space before (i borrowed this photo from the pillar and post website)

and here are the cushions now.

i didn't take a whole pool view with all of the couches and chairs as there were quite a few people chill-axing around enjoying the hotel. but you get the picture.

part II of this post is the walk of shame. it happens to the best of us, but in the shop we see it about every 2 weeks. someone takes one of our premade planters home to love and then walks back in with the container either empty or full of the dead plants a couple weeks later.

usually with i don't know what went wrongs, or i watered it exclamations.
one of my favourite parts of the shop is the education with plants. not everyone has a green thumb and honestly they may not exist. it is learning, practice and the willingness to take care of something.

this vintage cookie jar came back this weekend and i asked my lovely customer if she would mind if i turned this into a learn moment on the blog.

she laughed and said go right ahead.

so here is what we started with.
a vintage cookie jar that had been turned into a terrarium by yours truly with an orchid and 2 baby ferns. as you can see those ferns have taken on a lovely golden tone much like the colour of my lawn this summer. the orchid however seems quite happy. now to find out why?

after a few questions the demise of this planter because obvious and was a common mistake that is easily rectified. if the customer had just forgot to water completely the orchid too would be showing neglect but it is in quite fine condition just finished flowering.

the customer had the planter in medium light [check] was placing 3 ice cubes in the planter near the centre where the orchid was once per week [check]. this is exactly perfect when caring for an orchid. in the winter months there may be some need to mist as well but most orchids are perfectly happy with ice cube method. however, this was a mixed planter and the 2 ferns had other needs [no check mark here...]

the ferns need moisture and actually need you to bust out a watering can or a cup of water at least weekly to give them a good helping of water. most people love small plants. they look cute, fit in many places and are great in terrariums such as this. small plants mean though that the plant is a baby and just starting to grow into a big plant. the roots of these plants need water and nutrients to get going. most don't like being soggy all the time as this causes rot but a good healthy drink once a week lets them do their thing. the ice cubes would only trickle water to these young roots and with a happy older orchid sharing the space, they were not getting their fair share.

so now that we're all put back together what is the right answer for taking care of a terrarium like this?

if you are comfortable doing the ice cubes with the orchid, keep doing that just keep the ice cubes on the orchid side of the planter.

find a beaker (most of us have one we use for cooking in some form or another) or a skinny neck watering can and once a week, water the side of the planter that has the ferns until the soil looks moist. you put drainage in the bottom right? so unless you are seriously heavy handed with the water they shouldn't be too wet. once that soil looks light coloured again in a week, repeat your watering technique and voila. a happy terrarium until your orchid flowers kick the bucket again. but at least this time you only have to replace the orchid, not everything.

Have a great day everyone,


Thursday, July 21, 2016

What's happening in the shop: July Favourites

We are full on dancing into the summer time right now and I am loving it and we are loving it in the shop. Even though there have been a few people asking for fall items already. There's nothing wrong with thinking ahead. As a retailer I feel like my days have been consumed lately with Christmas prep but it makes me sad that we always rush through certain things and miss out on so much. I am that difficult retailer that won't allow seasons to change before it's time. Makes my wholesale reps nuts but if there's anything about being your own boss you get to say no, I don't want Christmas in July. And especially in Canada where we spend so much of our time crabbing about the weather it seems such a waste to not enjoy our steaming hot summer days and nights.

So with that in mind let's see what's catching our eye in the shop for our local and computer screen shoppers.

1. the new in shop french style market bags
these guys went super fast when they came in but i ordered enough that there are a few left for some fun carry all shopping at the market, schlepping to the beach, or just hanging on a door. there are 3 styles in store including my favourite the below leather wrapped style.

2. wood slice sealed coasters
perfect for that steaming cup of coffee to protect your table. they come in a set of 4 and are made in niagara. they look great just about anywhere and make a fabulous hostess gift when sneaking a week at the family cottage.
they are also great with that whole season thing i was just talking about as candle risers for fall or pumpkins. whatever!

3. this new requires a standing ovation  white & coppery brown pot and votive holder
they look amazing with plants but oh my gorgeous when empty too as a flickering candle holder

4. natural local macrame
this is not a "new" trend but it's a newly remerging one and seeing as my love of plants and needing homes for them just keeps growing lets go to the ceiling.
i am not partial to the coloured ones and i know most of our customers like neutrals so i happily went with natural cotton styles made in toronto.

i have already put 3 up in my own home and that number is likely to just keep growing. maybe one day i will get my act together and take photos of all the plants in my home. 

5. the botany candle line from paddywax
my favourite thing about this line other than the wonderful smells is the great container you get afterwards. it has a lid which implies you should use it for small things like bobby pins, rings etc but forget the lid and you got yourself a cute succulent, fern planter.
am i right?

now because i like to share stories (come by that very honestly by way of my lovely father) i thought you should know about the fantastic coconut prop in the above photo. i do all the photography currently for the shop with the help of Jill [retail manager extraordinaire] who has just as many cockamamie ideas as me we set out to opening the coconut. so when we needed to figure out how to get the damn coconut open for this shoot she suggested we just throw it at the concrete outside.
we were going to try to make a cute boomerang video for instagram.
so with an "are you ready?",
she wielded the thing at the ground and the biggest pop and splash happened all over my pants. that sounds dirty but really it was just the coconut water splashing all over me and the coconut screaming off into the bushes down the ravine. the photo i was trying to take did NOT turn out because as soon as the pop happened we were laughing so hard everyone in the parking lot next door was looking at us and i still had to climb down into the ravine and get the coconut so we could use it with tears running down my face.

it is my wish for the whole world to find someone like this to work with. we have stressful days and some days my owner pants have to go on but 99% of the time this is like running a shop with my best friend who has the same horrible sense of humour. the world of dental hygiene all but forgotten to me and moving forward with a passion and will to make homes beautiful and unique.

cell phone shot of all the mates lined up sans coconut.

Well have a great night and weekend everyone,


What I'm listening to:
I'm on fire: Whitehorse
Why'd you lie: Colin James
Moonshine: Katie Melua

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Some custom sharing, planters and flamingos

Good morning everyone,

A little bit of sharing tidbits of some things I have been doing alongside the shop lately.

Custom planting and planters are a huge part of the store. People bring us their sad planters with half cooked plants or giant empty ones in need of some love. I just thought I would share these huge succulent gems Jill and I planted up and I delivered this past week to a customer.

Two of these beauties are going outside in the summer sunshine to brighten up a patio space. Honestly if I needed a fourth or fifth career, doing peoples patio planters and freshening gardens could have been it. Not major landscaping like rocks but you know doing the pretty stuff that lots of people hate to do or don't know what plants can live together. I could have been that person. [in my spare time]

The basket planter is quite large and needed all new moss to freshen it up but didn't it just turn out spectacular. No matter how many we plant or how many times we think up new combinations the two of us shop turkeys still ooh and aah when they are done. Jill was helping a few customers while I did the basket and came back and yelled "it's a masterpiece".

We're weird like that.

this long planter is going out into full all day sun so for the next week or so we are doing some "sun training" with it so that it won't get a burn. don't forget unless the succulents you buy at the greenhouse are already outside, they are not ready to just hop into the sun no matter how bright they were grown inside. being behind a window and sitting in a lawn chair are 2 different things right? but plants don't get sunscreen so you need to do it gradually. find a bright outdoor spot that isn't directly in the sun for the first few days, then start with a few hours gradually moving your way to the full sun you desire. your planter will reward you with healthy growth and sustainability for the money you spent.

and these 2 babies are headed indoors to add some succulent style to a living space.

and onto the flamingos.
i posted these last night on Instagram and Facebook after making them for myself for our front patio (I know I haven't shared any outdoor spaces here yet this year but I will soon) and decided to share the love.
here is the blurb that went with them if you too find yourself in need of some flamingos!

"Who doesn't need a little flamingo in their outdoor summer life? I know I do as of today and if you think you need to join the flamingo club continue reading. I didn't include this fabric in the store lineup because of the obvious quirk factor however I am offering this beauty up for sale by request only starting today. If you are interested (and yes I will ship Canada and USA) please email me at I will send you the pricing of covers and inserts plus additional photos for perusal. Serious inquiries only please and orders for this batch will need to be firmed up by Wednesday at 9pm EST. NO pricing sizing questions etc will be answered by social media thanks!"

Have a great day everyone